• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Monday, 4 April 2016

The Most Beautiful Historic Towns In South Africa

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South Africa’s history is not all that old. The buildings don’t date back hundreds and hundreds of years, as they do in Europe, but (and it’s a BIG but) South Africa has its own unique architectural styles, much of it evident in little towns across the country.

The styles and architectural fashions in these historic towns are heavily influenced by the people who spent time at the tip of Africa.

Dutch settlement heralded the Cape Dutch gable; the French Huguenots brought with them a baroque refinement, whilst both French and German professionals (in the Cape at the behest of the Dutch East Indian Company) added their mix of neo-classical influence… Continued

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Green Durban – 9 Sustainable Sites In The City

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Durban’s focus is a lot more green than one thinks and finding sustainable projects, green spaces, heritage sites and businesses with an eco core in Durban is not difficult.

The city’s major green focus in the build up to the Soccer World Cup 2010, followed by COP17 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference hosted in Durban in November and December 2011), resulted in a green legacy that has done anything but fade from the city’s agenda.

The good news, for those after a more responsible holiday when in the city of beaches, there is plenty to find and do, beginning with these 9 sustainable sites in the city (we’ve included a bullet point list of even more sites to visit, below).

Green Durban – 9 Sustainable Sites In The City… Continued

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

6 Things To Do On The Wild Coast (That You Don’t Know About)

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The Wild Coast covers 350 km of Indian Ocean shoreline in the Eastern Cape. It’s synonymous with remote beaches, gob-stopping scenery, and the Xhosa people.

It’s somewhere every South African has to travel, at least once.

It’s also the homeland of Nelson Mandela who was born in the village of Mvezo on the Mbashe River, seaside villages like Cintsa, Port St Johns and Coffee Bay, geological wonders like the Hole in the Wall, inspiring waterfalls like Magwa, the almost 57-kilometre, four-day hike known as the Strandloper trail, Hluleka and Silaka nature reserves, and dirt roads full of potholes.

In short: it’s the back of beyond that everyone wants to travel.

Here is our list of 6 things to do on the Wild Coast that you may not know about … Continued

Thursday, 24 March 2016

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cape Towns Lions Head

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Over 200 000 people climb Lion’s Head every year in Cape Town. I’ve even heard postulate that the figure is closer to around 3 million.

The picture-perfect mountaintop perches 2 000 feet (670 metres doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic) above the city’s coastline, offering both a relatively easy (if steep) ascent and jaw dropping views – plenty of nerve-jangling Instagram shots of people posed centimetres from the edge or leaping across boulders on the summit.

Lions Head mountain stands between Table Mountain and Signal Hill, forming part of the city bowl’s dramatic skyline. These mountains are three of a peninsula mountain chain that straddles the cape over which the city sprawls. Continued

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

20 Best Secret Scenic Spots In Cape Town and The Western Cape

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Travel has become a photographic frenzy, if Instagram is anything to go by. #traveladdict #wanderlust #traveltheworld – it’s all about sharing those photo opportunities, whilst we’re still there.

People everywhere want authentic experiences. Instagram, in particular (but Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in hot pursuit) makes everyone a ‘travel expert’ as people tap into the power of visual appeal to post their photos for the world to see.

And so travel has become about the beautiful places, spaces and extraordinary spots as we all promote the places we’re visiting, to the rest of the world, with only a few hashtags between us and the moment.

For your perfect #travel moments, head to these 25 secret, scenic spots in Cape Town and the Western Cape(and follow us on Instagram here)

 

Continued

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

6 Off The Beaten Track Towns In The Eastern Cape

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South Africa is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa enjoying an ever-increasing number of tourists every year, who head to the glamorous coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, and the cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg.

Away from these cities South Africa has dozens of little towns and villages. Many of them, particularly those in the Western Cape and Free State, have succumbed to a small town renaissance as an influx of artists and intellectuals restore their Victorian and Cape Dutch architecture and reinvigorate the towns with markets, wine estates, annual events, places to stay and tourist routes.

The inland region of the Eastern Cape finds itself lumped into a vague expanse described as the ‘binneland’ in Afrikaans. These uncharted parts of the Eastern Cape still needs discovering. The once beautiful towns have eluded the small town renaissance of other provinces. Left to languish as disillusioned farmers and people head to the larger cities for work, these dorps could find themselves described as ghost towns before long.  Continued

Monday, 14 March 2016

7 Routes Durban – Great Ways To Explore The City Of Beaches

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Durban, South Africa’s second largest coastal city, is known for its Golden Mile beaches and its jogging, surfing, cycling, scuba diving, bodyboarding, dolphin viewing, jet-skiing, shark cage-diving, canoeing, boat cruising, sunbathing lifestyle.

As Lonely Planet so aptly puts it: ‘Durban is a window into life aquatic‘.

More often than not, though, it is passed over for the glamour of Johannesburg or the Cosmopolitan vibe of Cape Town.

Yet Durban is no longer the poorer cousin. It co-hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup, COP17 in 2011, and in 2022 will be the first African city to host the Commonwealth Games. The city already hosts the annual Comrades Marathon, Dusi Canoe Marathon, Amashova Cycle Race, Midmar Mile and Durban Handicap July.

That Durban inspires visitors with its beaches is a no-brainer. But there are plenty of other tourist routes to explore the city and its surrounds – Rivertown, the Docklands, nature reserves, its markets, gardens, historical monuments, mosques and temples.

Here are 7 routes Durban – great ways to explore the city of beachesContinued

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Thousands Of Swallows, Just Outside Durban

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Post storm, the sky still leaden and the streets reeking of that just-rained-earth smell so particular to South Africa, we watched hundreds of swallows duck and dive in a display of abandon, on the banks of Lake Victoria (not that Lake Victoria, another one, but more about that later). I fall in love.

We are just outside Durban overlooking a wetland in Mount Moreland conservancy where barn swallows from all across Europe overnight in a series of reed beds, coming in to roost at sundown in their thousands… Continued

Monday, 7 March 2016

Is Durban Worth A Visit – 7 Insider Things To Do in Durban

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After the New York Times included Durban at #7 on its list of 52 Places to Go in 2015, and CNN dubbed it ‘the coolest city in South Africa you’ve never seen‘, it was only time before the city with a Cinderella-complex came of age.

Then Mercer released its 2015 Quality of Living survey results and ranked Durban higher than Cape Town and Johannesburg, as the South African city with the highest quality of life. Suddenly the world’s attention shifted to the country’s east coast.

That was over-and-above the global vote of confidence for Durban as one of the New7Wonders Cities – up there with Beirut, Doha, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, La Paz and Vigan – the world’s latest urban hot spots.

Durban is reeling with the attention… Continued

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cape Towns Big 7 – If You Haven’t Done Them, You Haven’t Lived

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Cape Towns Big 7 have nothing to do with animals…

The city has not suddenly acquired direct access to lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whales – although southern right whales, sharks, seals and penguins you can find within the city’s parameters.

Instead, Cape Towns Big 7 is about seven unmissable things to do in Cape Town. The city has always had a Big 6 list of major tourist attractions, but to that it has added a city walk, embracing the idea of multi-purpose, liveable streets that focus on pedestrians.

Most of the Big 7 need little by way of introduction – they’re the reason people come to Cape Town. But the new City Walk adds a delightfully tactile element as it explores the heart of the city bowl on foot, its architecture, public spaces, art and storytelling woven through the route as a means to evoke community spirit.

There is no one way to explore the Big 7. Choose where you start, how you explore, and for how long. But for any visitor to the Mother City, a visit would be incomplete without their inclusion… Continued

Friday, 26 February 2016

Stitching The Dragon’s Tail – South Africas Great 8 Passes Challenge

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Imagine driving the highest navigable mountain pass in the country, enjoying wild and unspoilt countryside with views to match, skiing the slopes of Ben Macdhui and then passing down the other side of the mountain into one of the country’s prettiest and most historical villages …

No, you do not have to head into the Alps of Switzerland, or the Scottish Highlands. Such a challenge exists right here, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Known as the 8 Passes Challenge, or Stitching the Dragon’s Tail, the navigation of eight mountain passes in the southernmost section of the Drakensberg Mountains (the tail of the Dragon) is the ultimate 4×4 driving experience.

Driving these mountain tops in some of the country’s least populated areas gives you access to vistas usually the reward of hikers who have persevered into virtually unnavigable parts of these mountains. The good news: you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the passes. A good 2×4 with a high clearance can manage most of the passes, bar Bastervoetpad, which is a challenge even for the hardcore 4×4 enthusiast… Continued

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Art In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town – 7 Best Galleries and Museums

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Cape Town’s City Bowl may hold some of the most acclaimed art museums and galleries in the country, but places like the Iziko South African National Art Gallery, AVA Gallery, Johans Borman Fine Art, The New Church Museum, Erdmann Contemporary, Carmel Art and Cape Gallery do not hold the monopoly.

Art is as happening in the mother city’s southern suburbs.

One has only to turn to Woodstock (though not all that far south, a suburb of Cape Town nonetheless) to That Art Fair, on at The Palms Centre in Woodstock from the 17 February 2016.

That Art Fair presents a three week line-up of exhibitions and events that include a wide range of disciplines with visual art, performance art, photography, video and film and even fashion featured in the line-up. Find out more on thatartfair.com

That Art Fair, initiated by Art Africa magazine, focuses on young, unrepresented contemporary African artists. This is its second year.

7 other places to see art in the southern suburbs of Cape Town … Continued

Monday, 15 February 2016

10 Reasons Rhodes Should Be On Your Bucket List Of Towns To Visit In South Africa

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Rhodes is a fairytale type village perched in amongst the mountains where time seems, literally, to stand still. Fringed by mountains, fresh air and the calls of swallows and red-chested cuckoos, the unique Victorian-style tin roofed homes, hotel and shops remain as a delightful holiday retreat for those who can be bothered to get there.

Because, if you haven’t already visited Rhodes then no-one has explained that you don’t simply ‘drop in’ to the 1821 metres above sea level village in the highlands of the Drakensberg. Half the adventure involves getting there. If you are a 4×4 enthusiast then a visit to Rhodes is even more intrepid than it sounds because there are eight mountain passes in the area.

(Note: not all eight passes lead to Rhodes, but you can reach most of them from Rhodes, give or take a few detours. The recommended passage to Rhodes is via the gravel R396 from Barkly East).

Admittedly not all eight passes are equal. Only one of them is tarred (Barkly Pass), whilst others, like Bastervoetpad, make challenging driving and a third, Naude’s Nek, is the highest navigable (for a standard sedan) dirt mountain pass in the country, reaching a summit of 2920 metres above sea level and incorporating some of the most incredible scenery in South Africa. Continued

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Offbeat Route 56 – Take The Alternative Route Through The Transkei

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Route 56 is a surprisingly well-maintained, provincial route that links Middleburg in the Eastern Cape, with Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal. On the map it looks as though someone has taken a crayon and drawn a squiggly line east, north east through the country.

Marketed as the ‘shortest route’ between the Western Cape and Durban, the route’s main leverage is that it is a viable alternative to the N2 through the Transkei. It passes through the mountain country of Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal connecting Molteno, Maclear and Kokstad.

Calling it ‘short’ is a little misleading. It may be shorter in terms of kilometres, but the nature of the roads through the mountains mean that you take it slower. You can easily add three hours to your journey, but they’re hours well spent in terms of scenery and escaping the N2. Continued

Monday, 8 February 2016

6 Marine Protected Areas in South Africa

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South Africa protects just under 25 areas of its 3 000 km coastline. Known as marine protected areas (MPA), they safeguard threatened marine species and important habitats.

What they are, in essence, is a space in the ocean that strictly regulates human activities. Kind of like nature reserves, but in the sea.

To succeed as conservation areas of South Africa’s marine resources involves collaboration between civil society, communities and government… Continued